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Reviews & Ratings for
Shinobi: Heart Under Blade More at IMDbPro »Shinobi (original title)

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90 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

An Awesome Super-Fu Film!!

8/10
Author: Max Debutante from Canada
24 February 2006

The comments I've seen for this movie are the sole reason I signed up at IMDb; in order to rebuke some of the harsh criticism given. I haven't seen the Manga cartoon, or read the comic if there was one - so I say unabashedly that I loved this film. I think at least one other comment made was a reflection of bitterness about not having the film remain faithful to the animated series, in whatever form it exists.

That said, for those who are new to it all, I HIGHLY recommend this film to action lovers. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish... from start to finish, I say. Martial arts movies come in three "fu's" by my classification:

"Regular-Fu": the kind that the incomparable Bruce Lee brought us followed by acts like Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and the like; clean, physical and grounded.

"Wire-FU": This sub-genre has been best epitomized in films like 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and 'Hero', often used in Jet Li films and even 'The Matrix Trilogy'. It's fast, hyper-acrobatic and aerial.

"Super-FU": This is where SHINOBI comes in. Fighters have very unique abilities that are often much faster and deadlier that Wire-Fu styles. This kind is fantastic, exceptional, and ethereal. If you could not suspend belief enough to watch a film like 'Spiderman', there's little chance you will like SHINOBI.

Now, for the special effects fighting nuts like myself, this film is a really good one. The storyline is most reasonably adequate, I felt . It is terse (stoic) all the way through, and has the action to match... and the acting really compliments that air. And boy, do some of the actors look their parts! There are no wasted sequences of nothingness in this film; the story is coherent, especially when I consider other movies of the same category, like 'The Duel' and 'The Promise'. On this point I disagree with some other comments again.

I don't know if a sequel was planned but I really hope so. I fully enjoyed the film, especially after expecting so little from what I initially read here!

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79 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

so good

10/10
Author: babisampah from Japan
22 September 2005

As someone mentioned, he said that the movie was awful because it contained only 10% fighting scene. Well that person exaggerated too much. Obviously this movie is a romance just because the title is SHINOBI and does not mean it contains lots of violent / fighting scenes. Instead, this movie focuses more on the romance side rather than the violence side. and That is why the theme song is a ballad. This movie is very beautiful. it has good romance just like Romeo and Juliet. If you are a person who likes romance, than this is the right movie. and if you are a person who is looking for violence, than this movie is not the right one for you.

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59 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Two Ninja clans are pitted against each other to see who can survive. Everyone has special abilities.The two lead characters are, unfortunately, in love.

10/10
Author: basilisk875 from United States
10 October 2005

This story comes from the Japanese manga (graphic novel) called "Basilisk," and is heavily edited from it. They cut out half the characters for the sake of easy and time. Although unfortunate, I agree that they had to do it, and they did a good job of making a "short" movie plot out of long series. The special effects are breathtaking. They must have combined computer animation, and paid attention to every little detail down to making the eyes shine and reflect light in the two main characters when they're talking. I liken it to House of Flying Daggers or one of those Chinese flicks that are beautiful and have a lot of attention to detail. I love how they managed the occasional slow motion scenes. The acting is top notch. I hate love stories but I took to this one. It's not all love, and the action scenes are well choreographed and exciting. Ninjas fight, but they're not the kind of ninjas to be clothed in black jumpers with masks. The "special abilities" don't look corny or contrived, which impressed me.

I hope it is subtitled into English soon.

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36 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Anime Stylings and Innovative Characters

7/10
Author: UberNoodle from Japan
23 February 2006

I FINALLY got my hands on the DVD, and watched it a few days ago. I must say that I hyped this movie to myself for quite a while as I waited and waited for the film to arrive on subtitled DVD. Seeing the movie posters at the cinemas just made me salivate, and as such my view of the film was slightly slanted, and also of slight disappointment.

The film follows the story of the two tribes of Ninja - Iga and Koga, who have obeyed a non-aggression law for many generations. In a period of peace after Japan's own warring states' period, two ninjas from opposite sides meet and fall in love. In true Star-crossed Lover tradition, they have to keep their romance a secret. However, inevitably fate steps in to pull them apart, in the form of a shady tournament, designed by the Shogan's advisors.

The romance of the film takes center stage, and it fits well with the sub title "Heart Under Blade". The two main characters, leaders of their clans have to balance their love, and their responsibilities, as the Shogun's plot unfolds.

The Characters are very interestingly designed, and colourful. They all possess unique skills, and have very anime'esquire costumes and fighting styles. Much of the fighting is a combination of CGI and wire-work, and some of it is incredibly cool. The low budget effects will no doubt be critised by many who are used to ILM level of graphics, but while companies like ILM strive to make the fantastic, "real", Shinobi's effects are beautifully stylised. Regardless of how they look, their fresh and innovative look more than makes up for any lack of polish.

Character design in this film may be great, but sadly the personalities underneath have not been as fleshed-out. Except for the main characters, we are given as much as we need to know about each character to accomplish the end goals of the story, and not much more. Even the main pair felt a bit empty, and perhaps some more exploration into their feelings would have built their characters more. Seeing them hug and canoodle certainly showed that they were in love, but in the end I didn't feel it like I had hoped I would.

That said, the acting in the film is quite good. Taking cues from its comic and anime origins, the characters are even larger than life when in motion, and villains and heros are very archetypal, lending them comic-book credentials that probably would have been insufficient in a more serious film.

Perhaps it is the comic book acting, but at times the film, like many lower budget Jidaigeki, looked a little "television". I can only assume that this was due more to filming technology than quality. However, many people that love Asian film will tell you that to fully appreciate it, you have to look past the budget and see its heart. While Hollywood film tries to use the glare from all of its gloss to hide plot and character inadequacies, Asian film doesn't usually have that luxury. What it does often have though are ideas.

Shinobi does things that I have never seen a Hollywood film even try (except for a strange Spiderman like sequence which may have been in the source material anyway), and as such is something to see. It owes an awful lot to anime, and it is indeed based on one. From the character designs of the Androgenous razor whip wielder, and the silent hulking doppelganger, to the Ninja Gaiden like battle sequences, this film is an anime and ninja fans guilty dream. Plus with all of Yukie Nakama's conflicted and fragile expressions, you can't help but wish you could just give her a big cuddle! 7/10

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19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Great Ninja Action Movie

7/10
Author: the_cyberpunk from Calgary, Canada
20 February 2007

First I should say that I watched the subtitled version of this film but apparently there is an English dub on the North American release. Make no mistake, this IS an action movie. It is not as heavy on plot or characterization as similar films of the genre, and focuses more on matrix-like ninja fighting and great costumes. This is not necessarily a bad thing though as it does these things very well. The special effects are some of the best I've ever seen in a Japanese feature, and the overall cinematography is great. The story is pretty light and you really want to know more about some of the characters who are introduced in a totally classic "Good The Bad and the Ugly" style with their names being displayed on the corner of the screen as they are introduced.

The story centers on a pair of star-crossed lovers from rival ninja clans. The Tokugawa Government has just taken control of Japan and a new era of peace has broken out. To preserve this peace the Shogun decides that the two ninja clans must be destroyed, for their abilities are simply too dangerous and unpredictable. So the Shogun orders the two clans to each pick their five best warriors who will then battle to the death for the favor of the Shogun. Chosen to lead their respective clan's teams are the two unfortunate lovers who thought a new age of peace would allow their love to bloom, as rivalry between their clans was no longer necessary in their view – now in a cruel twist of fate they must battle to the death. This is pretty much where the story ends, and the rest of the film is a cat and mouse game between the two ninja teams as they use their seemingly supernatural abilities against each other. The team members themselves are all very interesting and I found myself wanting to know more about them but was disappointed by the rate in which they are killed off.

Overall the film is well worth watching and is smarter than your average action film, but not by much.

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29 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Amazing landscapes and awesome combat choreography

7/10
Author: jpgonc from Lisbon, Portugal
25 March 2006

Shinobi is a story about 2 Shinobi tribal villages that must went on a deadly fight. The Lord of the Lords is a man that runs a neutral faction among the Shogun Kingdom but that everyone is bond and obeys, and when he, under clerical/military advice, promotes and proclaims that the 2 Shinobi villages must choose each 5 of their great warriors to battle until death, things turn awry.

The problem is that one beautiful woman of one of the villages falls in mutual love with a man from the other village. Love and war collide. Is the love between them so strong that can stop the war? Shinobi is a movie packed with astounding nature scenes, (I wonder if still exists such nature landscapes thru Japan...) a surprisingly impressive fight choreography and a fair story.

I really advise everyone to see this movie!

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful and Tragic Romance

8/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
27 November 2007

After more than four hundred years of war between the Shinobi warriors of the Manjidani Koga and Tsubagakure Iga clans, the Lord Hattori Hanzou decrees that they must live in peace. Both clans live hidden in the woods and mountain without confrontation and without training ninjas in the shadow art of Shinobi. In 1614, the Lord of the Lords is convinced that the clans are dangerous threats for keeping peace in his lands, and his adviser plots a Machiavellian plan to destroy their best warriors in a contest. Meanwhile, the young Iga Oboro (Yukie Nakama) and Koga Gennesuke (Joe Odagiri) fall in love for each other. When Oboro's grandmother and leader of Iga clan Ogen (Riri) and Gennesuke's father and leader of the Koga clan Danjo (Minoru Terada) kill each other, Oboro and Gannesuke must lead their warriors in the ultimate battle of the Shinobi clans.

"Shonobi" is a wonderful and tragic romance, with drama, action and fantasy. The story slightly recalls Romeo and Juliet, with the impossible love of Oboro and Gennesuke that belong to enemy clans, and X-men, with the dark powers of the Shinobi warriors. The cinematography, the choreography of the fights and the state-of-art special effects are awesome, and the story is engaging and shows an adequate pace. The beauties of Yukie Nakama, Tomoka Kurotani and Erika Sawajiri are amazing, but the romance of Oboro and Gannesuke should have been better explored to increase the intensity of their final act. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Shinobi – A Batalha" ("Shinobi – The Battle")

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24 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

This movie is the best. I love the two main cast Nakama Yukie and Odagiri Joe

10/10
Author: johnny_evil_thao from United States
26 April 2006

I really like this movie when I first saw it, because it is like a Ninja version of Romeo and Juliet with some West Side story ( without the singing. Odagiri Joe and Nakama Yukie gave it all they got to make this movie successful and I think its great that they did that. They also have a previous mini series together called Kao. If you movie action movie lovers are hoping for multi action in this movie, you are wasting your time, because this movie is not all about action and it barely shows it, but a lot of scene's in this movie are really strong and great. The meaning and plot of this movie is trying to tell the viewer's about how a great love and easily be torn apart by useless war and family/clans feud's against each other. Anyway this movie is really good its is the only great movie that I have seen this year.

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27 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Excellent movie

10/10
Author: bogdi_baros from Romania
18 August 2006

This is one of the best Japanese movies i have ever seen.I loved it and i recommend it to anyone who knows what a good movie is.I didn't expect to be this good but it exceeded my expectations by far.I've seen twice in one day and I still want to see it again.It captured me with the story.From the title i expected an action packed movie but the beauty of the movie doesn't stand in the fight scenes but in the love story between the two 'shinobis'.The end left me speechless because I didn't portrayed it in my mind this way and it gives the movie another quality upgrade for the dramatic type of it.The characters are great and the actors outstanding...It has a 10 from me

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23 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Deserves better...

8/10
Author: xdragon_fistx from United States
15 May 2006

I'll be honest - I did not have much expectations for this film. After sitting through movies such as Azumi, Azumi 2, and Princess Blade...I somewhat lost hope for Japanese ninja movies. However I was pleasantly surprised by "Shinobi". Sure, there is the cheese factor in the film, but hey, you can't help it with this types of movies. I found "Shinobi" to be far superior to "Azumi" and "Azumi 2" in all aspects. Acting is much more bearable. Plot is existent. Character design is interesting. Action is far, far more exciting.

I give it 8 out of 10 stars. I'd definitely recommend to give this movie a chance.

Actually, 8.5 - a extra for the hotness factor of Yukie Nakama (Oboro) and Tomoka Kurotani (Kagero). ^_^

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